New applications sought for share of €1 billion Rural Regeneration and Development Fund

Greg Mulhall

Reporter:

Greg Mulhall

New applications sought for share of €1 billion Rural Regeneration and Development Fund

The Minister for Rural and Community Development, Michael Ring TD, has today announced the third call for proposals under the Rural Regeneration and Development Fund.

The Fund is part of the Department of Rural and Community Development’s Rural Development Investment Programme which is funded under Project Ireland 2040. The Fund is providing €1 billion in investment over 10 years to support the regeneration and development of rural towns, villages and outlying areas. Initial funding of €315 million was allocated on a phased basis over the period 2019 to 2022. 

The first call for applications to the Fund closed in September 2018. Arising from the first call, 38 successful Category 1 projects and 46 Category 2 projects were announced, with funding of €86m provided from the Fund to support projects worth €117m. The second call for Category 1 applications for the Rural Regeneration and Development Fund closed in August 2019. Arising from the second call, 26 projects were approved for funding of €62 million to support projects costing €95 million.

To date, the Fund has now provided €148 million for 110 projects across Ireland, worth a total of €212 million.

“I am pleased to announce the launch of the third call for proposals under the Rural Regeneration and Development Fund. The impact of the funding allocated under previous call to the Fund has been transformative for rural communities,” said Minister Ring.

“Since the conclusion of the first call in late 2018, this Fund has provided €148 million in support for over 100 projects, located all across the country, worth a combined total of €212 million.  The funding of these projects was very well timed, as they are right now delivering an immediate and much needed economic stimulus in rural Ireland.  The assistance provided by this Fund has meant that businesses and communities have benefitted from the activity and jobs provided in delivering these projects, at precisely the time they have been most needed.”

This call under the Fund is for Category 1 applications, which relate to capital projects that have planning in place and are ready to commence at the date of application. It is expected that a funding announcement relating to the second call for Category 2 applications – for projects which require assistance for project development work in order to reach full delivery readiness – will be made shortly.

This call for applications to the Fund seeks to provide assistance in supporting economic recovery in rural areas in light of the challenges posed by the Covid-19 pandemic and to assist in delivering sustainable regeneration in rural towns and villages, driving greater economic activity and helping to address challenges such as dereliction and vacancy.  Applications to the Fund which support in the decarbonisation of the economy and environmental sustainability are particularly welcome.

“The level of investment provided by the Fund is more important than ever to address the challenges arising from the COVID-19 crisis and to drive the economic recovery and sustainable development of rural areas. The focus of this third call will be to support large-scale strategic projects that will significantly assist our rural towns and villages to bounce back from the crisis in the months ahead,” the Minister continued.

“It is vitally important that the project proposals for the Fund seek to make a tangible and sustainable contribution to economic recovery, the continued development of rural towns, villages and their communities and help support the transition to a low carbon and climate resilient economy.  

“In order to make certain that we receive the very best applications possible and that the requirement for communities, agencies and Local Authorities to source the necessary match funding is kept to a minimum, I have increased the funding rate that will apply to projects approved under the third call under the Fund to a maximum of 90%,” he concluded.

The Fund is seeking to support large-scale, ambitious projects which deliver on the objectives set out above.  In that regard, applications of scale are sought, with a minimum funding request of €500,000.  Applications to the Fund must be led by a State-funded body - Local Authorities, Local Development Companies, State agencies, commercial State bodies etc. - but collaboration between parties, including with communities, is strongly encouraged.

The closing date for the receipt of proposals is 12 noon, on Tuesday 1st December 2020.

Full details of the Rural Regeneration and Development Fund are available on the Department of Rural and Community Development website at https://www.gov.ie/en/policy-information/c77144-rural-regeneration-and-development-fund/